‘He wore his uniform proudly.’ Pikeville buries murdered police officer

Service members made their way out of the East Kentucky Expo Center on Sunday after the funeral of Scotty Hamilton.
Service members made their way out of the East Kentucky Expo Center on Sunday after the funeral of Scotty Hamilton.

Citizens and law enforcement gathered Sunday afternoon in Pikeville for the funeral of Scotty Hamilton, the 35-year-old veteran Pikeville police officer who was shot and killed while on duty this week.

Hamilton was buried in the Pikeville City Cemetery, on a hill in downtown that overlooks the police station where he worked for 12 years and downtown Pikeville..

City officials, along with some of Hamilton’s family and co-workers, spoke of Hamilton’s work ethic and contagiously positive personality at his funeral, held at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

“Scotty touched many lives, and I was one of them,” Pikeville Public Safety Commissioner Phillip Reed said.

Other speakers included Pikeville Mayor Jimmy Carter, Pikeville Police Chief Chris Edmonds and Kevin Thacker, a Kentucky State Police trooper and Hamilton’s brother-in-law.

Some of the speakers told stories highlighting Hamilton’s friendly personality, while others praised the community for its outpouring of support for Hamilton’s family.

“Thank you for honoring my husband,” Chelsi Hamilton said.

Hamilton’s immediate family and members of the Pikeville Police Department gathered around the casket in the cemetery, while hundreds of other law enforcement officers and citizens watched from the street below.

Bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” as police folded the American flag that covered Hamilton’s casket.

“He loved his job and he definitely loved the people he worked with,” said KSP detective Jimmy Anderson. “He wore his uniform proudly.”

Since Hamilton’s death Tuesday, one person has been charged with murder and four others have been charged with hindering prosecution in connection with the shooting.

Hamilton was killed while responding to a call with Kentucky State Police in the Hurricane community of Pikeville.

According to state police, Hamilton and KSP Trooper Matt Martin were patrolling the area when they saw a suspicious vehicle. The officers spoke with the people in the vehicle and then separated as they searched around a nearby residence for someone on foot.

After hearing gunshots, Martin found Hamilton close to the residence with a fatal gunshot wound, police said.

Police on Thursday charged John Russell Hall, 55, of Pikeville, with murder and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon.

Hamilton is survived by his wife and his infant daughter, Brynlee Hamilton.

Citizens of Pikeville gathered Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor Scotty Hamilton, the 35-year-old police officer shot and killed earlier this week.

Will Wright is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Reach him at 859-270-9760, @​HLWright